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June 27, 2017

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MOL plans for labor to get two days off

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The newly appointed Labor Minister Chen Hsiung-wen (陳雄文) said that as labor groups and the business sector have gradually reached a consensus over the issue of allowing all laborers to have at least two days off per week, his ministry will draft a new bill regarding the issue by the end of this year, a local newspaper reported yesterday.

During an exclusive interview with the United Evening News, Chen said one of President Ma Ying-jeou's pressing issues is to achieve this by 2016, noting that only 60 percent of laborers enjoy at least two days off every week. Nearly 3 million laborers in the country still have to work on Saturday, the minister said.

Chen said the Ministry of Labor (MOL) has held 30 conferences for labor groups and the business sector on the issue, and a consensus has been reached. The MOL will draft the bill by the end of this year and send it to the Legislative Yuan for deliberation next year, Chen said.

The minister went on to say that this policy has been in place in the military, public service and education sectors for years, adding that many other sectors are also expected to have this regulation set as soon as possible.

Chen said the government has to consider the potential costs of the policy for corporations, and will enforce it at a slow pace. Once a consensus between both labor groups and the business sector is certain, the government will pass it into law, he said. "I will take this issue seriously. The policy will be carried out in accordance with the (president's) platform. I will also take the 'political agenda' into account," he said.

In response, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said it will first examine the MOL's schedule concerning the issue, before collecting the business sector's opinion.

The MOEA said that it will simultaneously request that its officials analyze the feasibility of the MOL's proposal and then set out its own suggestions to the labor ministry.

Taipei Chamber of Commerce Director-General Wang Ying-chieh (王應傑) was quoted by the Central News Agency (CNA), saying that it would boost domestic tourism and the service industry in Taiwan if all laborers can have two days off per week.

Lin Hui-ying (林慧瑛), chairwoman of the National Association of Small & Medium Enterprises R.O.C. (NASME, 中華民國全國中小企業總會), said the government has to consider every industry's differences while promoting policy as it could add to operational costs.

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